Rural bus services across the area are being strongly supported to ensure decent public transport for local people.
With news that North Somerset Council is reducing support for cross-boundary bus services from April, Bath & North East Somerset Council has vowed to continue to support those most used by its residents.
These include the 683 from Keynsham to Wells and the 834 from Bishop Sutton to Weston-super-Mare, both of which run on Tuesdays, and the 791/793 Bath to Weston-super-Mare service which runs on Wednesdays. These bus services are not commercially viable so they rely on financial support for their continued existence.
Cllr Roger Symonds, Cabinet Member for Transport (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), said: “After looking at this very carefully, Bath & North East Somerset Council has decided to step in and fully-fund these services for the next year because we know they are well-used by our residents and provide a lifeline for our rural communities.
“Over the next year we will monitor their usage further and may consider alternatives, including community transport which may prove to be more cost-effective.”
North Somerset Council has also withdrawn support for the 835 which runs from Chewton Mendip to Weston-Super-Mare on Thursdays, but Bath & North East Somerset Council has decided not to support this service as most Bath & North East Somerset residents who use it have the alternative 834 service on Tuesdays. It will cease after operation on 29 March.
Service 683 will be operated by Buglers Coaches and service 834 will be operated by CT Coaches. There will be minor changes to the timetables and full information will be available from Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or http://www.traveline.info from mid-March.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has also worked closely with Chew Stoke Parish Council to bring in a new Friday evening bus service from the Chew Valley to Bristol and back. This is being paid for by developer funding and will start on Friday April 13. There will be two trips into Bristol – at 6pm and 8pm – and two return trips at 7pm and 11pm, and the service will be operated by North Somerset Coaches.
The Chair of Chew Stoke Parish Council, Cllr Ali Cunningham, said: “Reliable public transport is a concern for not only Chew Stoke but the whole of the Chew Valley, and this funding has given us the opportunity to provide a regular Friday night service into the centre of Bristol, via Chew Magna and Whitchurch. Hopefully this will provide a great opportunity for people to enjoy a wide range of social activities knowing there is safe and affordable transport home. The service will run initially for a six month trial period and if it is well used, we have funding for three years.“